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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  May 22, 2013 11:00pm-12:01am PDT

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campaigner. >> this is one we will be watching. we will be covering a mayor's race here on national tv. krystal ball, thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> thanks, lawrence. peek-a-boo politics. let's play hardball. good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with this. there are two ways to look at this irs scandal. one is to blame it on the bureaucrats. the other is to blame it on the white house. someone through mind control perhaps somehow got a line into that cincinnati office. i'm inclined to buy the first perspective. i see why millions of people why? that tired old government game
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of ducking and covering. first denying. then a bit of information. then some more until finally the press pummels you into telling the straight story. why did the obama white house not get on the top of this story in the beginning? why didn't the chief of staff tell the president what the report was going to say. get the president in front of a lecturn and tell us what happened before anyone else did? why didn't the president himself lead the public demand for cleaning up that office in cincinnati? why didn't the president's team react the way a smart political operation should? seizing the reins of this galloping story. the first rule to follow in these cases, when in doubt, get it out. why didn't the president answer immediately to his clients, the american people? they have a right to know what's happening in the american government. why didn't the president tell them? and why is the person who ran that operation in cincinnati, the one running this whole thing, why is she taking the fifth amendment? howard fineman is director at "the huffington post." steve schmidt is republican strategist, both msnbc political analysts. steve, i want to start with you. you're the kind of mind i've come to respect.
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strategic mind. howard has one too, of course. howard is trying to analyze the news. you run campaigns. when in doubt, put it out. the president had nothing to do with screwing around with who to give tax free status to out there in the cincinnati office. why did he act like he had something to do with it? why didn't he just come out and say i'm the prosecutor, i want to get to the bottom of this? >> well, they're trying to keep the president distanced from it. republicans are obviously trying to implicate the president in it. even though there's any -- there's a lack of evidence that he is implicated in it. but that whenever something like this happens, when you're at this stage of it, the administration is trying to gather the facts to communicate to the american people. and they botched it. they've handled this about as badly as they possibly could. and whether they're innocent or guilty, they're doing everything
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they can to make themselves look bad in the eyes of the american people with their response and the shifting storyline. so i think the irs situation as we understand the facts, it's a very serious situation. when you have an enforcement agency of the u.s. government bridging the first amendment rights of american citizens. and so we have that, of course, now with the justice department and the leak scandals with the press combining together to form a really troubling narrative for the administration. and they just don't have their footing on it yet. they're doing a very poor job of responding to it. and they're making it worse, not better. >> it's like they're on the police interrogation room with simple wits. slowly -- oh, maybe i was there at the time. maybe i knew something about it. everybody should pay attention to this. let's look at the heart of the current mess facing the administration.
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it's called rolling disclosure. instead of getting ahead of that irs story, they've taken a bumbling and piecemeal approach explaining what they knew and when they knew it. let's look at the timeline. may 10th. not so long ago. irs official lois lerner reveals the agency had inappropriately scrutinized conservative groups. president obama says he learned about the issue from news reports on that very day. white house press secretary jay carney sidesteps questions about the administration's prior knowledge telling the press corps i learned about it today. may 13th. three days later. carney says the white house was actually first told about the investigation of the matter sometime during the week of april 22nd. what were they told? they were informed the inspector general was finishing a review but that's all they were informed. turns out that wasn't true either. this monday carney said that white house officials were actually told key details about the ig report. that it focused on the improper targets of 501-c4 organizations that had tea party and patriot in their names. we learned the chief of staff had been briefed by white house counselor a month ago but chose
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not to tell the president. other senior staffers were briefed as well. and the timeline gets pushed back even further. carney now says the white house was actually told of the ig report on april 16th, not april 24th. that brings us to yesterday. it turns out officials at the white house not only knew about the ig findings, they discussed with treasury officials in april when the information must be made public. carney said i answered the questions that were asked of me. in other words, the questions weren't precise enough to get the full truth from jay. howard, you come in the white house. you have been here before. this rolling disclosure sends a big signal they know more than they've told us as of now. all these days they've been telling us more. there's more coming. and they're telling us at their convenience. you got to wonder why they didn't blow it out day one. >> that was an interesting chronology, chris. even that is -- there's more to
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that that came out in the house hearings today. because there were earlier investigations. there was an internal investigation within the irs that they started themselves long ago last year. and they came sort of to the same conclusion last may just as the inspector general was starting up his own investigation. so the notion that this was not widely known, at least within the irs and probably within the treasury, that they had a problem and that the conservatives and tea party people were right to be complaining in 2010 and 2011 and 2012. they were right. it's hard to believe that the echo of that didn't somehow reach the ears of some people in
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the white house. not that they instigated it. but they made a fateful decision to stay away from it and not shut it down. they didn't shut it down. and their argument is, you don't mess with the irs. i talked to a top obama person today who said, look, i'm not so stupid that i'm going to mess around with the irs. maybe that's true then. but the moment that lois lerner said on may 10th that we done wrong, the president shouldn't have waited another instant. he should have fired everybody. he could have gotten his hands on. he should have been the -- >> i think he should have been the chief prosecutor in this case. steve schmitt, would you advise the president if you were chief of staff, mr. president, you've got little time. you better get out in front, or else mr. issa is going to get out in front. how about this, mr. president? you be the good guy. you blow the story. >> it's inexplicable why they didn't do it. there's has to be an awareness that barack obama was elected on the presidency on the premise that he was going to restore faith in politics. >> transparency. >> the themes of hope and change. this is so dissident. of course he had to do what howard said.
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clean house and fire everybody who was tangentially involved in this, knew about it. it's too late now. now, that's ultimately going to happen. but i suspect it's going to happen after there's been a fair amount of political damage done to the administration. >> you know, i like a lot of what obama's trying to do. i hope he gets a big immigration bill that really works. i think the health care thing has got to work. there's a lot of things that are important to this country regardless of what happens here on this story. i got the ask the simple question myself all the time when i sit here at this desk. suppose it was the other way around. suppose w. was still president and they were picking off every progressive group and screwing them around on the tax policy. and the president was saying, i'll get to that. we learned a little more today. we heard a little more. they were dribbling out. i'd say, wait a minute. these guys had something to do with it. i would immediately think guys around w. in the white house had something to do with the irs. most people think like that. >> of course. but let's do what steve did which is hold the president to his own standards. forget about george w. bush. i think steve's right about the brand. about the obama brand. and that's what's at risk right
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here. >> the transparency. >> yes. that's why he should have been more aggressive a few weeks ago. line, i understand. we all know how this works. i'm sure that there were echoes of this thing rattling around from the irs like -- like noise from a barrel somewhere during the fall campaign. they didn't want this -- somebody didn't want this coming out. even maybe the irs people were smart enough politically to say, let's not put this out now. i'm not blaming the white house for that. okay. things happen during the midst of a campaign in an administration that administrations don't want to have get out. okay? that's happened from the beginning of time. but if you're president, what you do after you've won is you say, i was shocked -- i'm shocked. >> yeah. >> i'm shocked to find that out. i'm going to get rid of -- >> okay. the only thing is, i don't believe -- i'm a little different than you. i don't see, steve, how anybody in the white house would have the brass to call up somebody in the irs in cincinnati and say we want you to put the fix in. >> i'm not saying that. >> if that didn't happen, i
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don't think it did, why doesn't the president play prosecutor here? my same question. why doesn't is president come in like a prosecutor. start putting people on administrative leave. start promising to do what you can given civil service rights to remove people who made the decisions. be the leader. i go back to reagan. the minute he fired those guys for breaking their oaths not to go on strike, the minute he did that, they heard that all around the world. god, this guy's president. this guy's a leader. what's wrong with being a leader? >> george schultz always said that was the most important foreign policy decision ronald reagan ever made. people understood immediately he did what he said he was going to -- that he did what he said he was going to do. look, in this instance, the president had it within his ability to come out and to say, this is what we know. this is what we're going to find out. this is who we know is involved right now. we're going to hold them accountable immediately. and we're going to get to the bottom of this. to make very clear that dissent is as american as apple pie.
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that his political opponents are not his enemies. and that his political opponents, people who profoundly disagree with him, have a constitutionally protected right to do so. and as commander in chief, as president of the united states, he is first in line to defend it. and that's what he should have done. and the slow roll of information, the evolving story that comes out every day, it hasn't impacted his approval numbers yet. but we're still very, very early in this. this is trending in a bad way. because a lot of these situations, a lot of these scandals are puffed up. they're overblown. it's not a big deal. but the overreach of the justice department with members of the press, the overreach of the irs here with these other groups, it's profoundly disturbing. >> i think your dog thinks you're overreaching right there, by the way, steve. that last line. i'm telling you one thing. this could be a time of shining opportunity for this president. the unemployment rate is coming down. the stock market's going up.
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the deficit is coming down. this could be a time for him to come into bloom. and to really fight for things important like immigration reform. instead, we're playing defense instead of offense. he should have been on offense. it's so easy, i got to say i wonder. i just wonder. howard fineman, thank you. steve schmidt. great to have your strategic thinks. what happened in the cincinnati irs? we're going into the bowels of that office and talk about what happened to screw that up. who directed those workers to target their enemies? what happened? we've got really good reporters coming up. also experts who ran that lonely irs outpost that has given us so much trouble. also, oklahoma is in great need after being hit by monday's ef-5 tornado. president obama will travel there this sunday to get a firsthand look at the tornado damage. and you may have worried it would come to this. >> look, i made some big mistakes and i know i let a lot of people down. i've also learned some tough lessons. i'm running for mayor because i've been fighting for the middle class and those struggling to make it my entire life. i hope i get a second chance to work for you.
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>> anthony weiner made it official today. is the big apple ready to become weiner's city? let me finish tonight with the unfairness of the left's reaction to 9/11 and the right's reaction to benghazi. the left was fair. the right has been very unfair about benghazi. this is "hardball," the place for politics. why let constipation weigh you down? as soon as you feel it, try miralax. it works differently than other laxatives. it draws water into your colon to unblock your system naturally. don't wait to feel great. miralax. take the miralax pledge to feel better sooner. get a reward like a beauty treatment, a dance class or a $5 gift card with purchase of a specially marked pack.
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go to for details. we don't let frequent heartburn come between us and what we love. so if you're one of them people who gets heartburn and then treats day after day... block the acid with prilosec otc and don't get heartburn in the first place! [ male announcer ] one pill each morning. 24 hours. zero heartburn. so even in the thick of the scandal with the irs what percentage of americans have favorable view of the agency? 34% said they have a very favorable or somewhat favorable of the irs. what about congress? a new fox news poll only 16% approve of the job congress is doing. different questions, different polls. twice as many americans seem to like the irs more than they do the u.s. congress that's investigating them. and we'll be right back.
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for 150 years, california educators have stood up for what happens in the classroom. in 1866, pioneering the first free public schools for all kids. and today still standing strong,
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with efforts to close achievement gaps... reduce class sizes... and give every student a well-rounded education. even as time and technology change the way we teach, our commitment to children never will. because the california teachers association knows quality public schools make a better california for all of us. welcome back to "hardball." at a time when the public is screaming for transparency from
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the irs one of its top officials has gone silent. lois lerner, the irs executive who first went public with the agency's inappropriate activity was called to testify before the congress today but chose instead, she did, to plead the fifth amendment. let's listen to her explanation. >> i have not done anything wrong. i have not broken any laws. i have not violated any irs rules or regulations, and i have not provided false information to this or any other congressional committee. and while i would very much like to answer the committee's questions today, i've been advised by my counsel to assert my constitutional right not to testify or answer questions related to the subject matter of this hearing. >> well, lerner went under fire, of course, for that decision and was called out by representative trey gowdy of south carolina for refusing to answer any questions, which she did today. >> mr. cummings just said we should run this like a
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courtroom. i agree with him. she just testified. she just waived her fifth amendment right to privilege. you don't get to tell your side of the story and not be suggested to cross-examination. that's not the way it works. she waived her right to fifth amendment privilege by issuing an opening statement. she ought to stand here and answer our questions. >> wow. we should note the committee's chairman darrell issa wants to recall lerner. ms. lerner refused to answer any questions from lawmakers which, of course, only fuels speculation there's more to the story than has been told. this weekend "the new york times" reported that at the core of this scandal is a truly dysfunctional office. as the "time"s described it, quote, an understaffed cincinnati outpost that was alienated from the broader irs culture and given little direction. overseen by a revolving cast of mid-level managers stalled by miscommunication with irs
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lawyers and executives in washington. and confused about the rules they were enforcing. so what's really going on here? one man with some insight into what lois lerner was up to today and what she might have known is marcus owens. he's with me now. he held her same position in the irs, director for tax exempt organizations, from 1990 to the year 2000. he's now a tax lawyer in private practice. mr. owens, thanks for coming on. enlighten us. why do you think she took the fifth? >> well, she had to. there have been calls for a criminal investigation. department of justice has answered those calls. and she's been accused of lying by members of congress. she had no choice, frankly. >> why not -- i'm just going to play average citizen here. you can be the sophisticate from the government. or former government. why if you have nothing to hide and you're a truth teller and you're of sound mind, and she seems to be, why doesn't she sit in that witness stand and answer truthfully? what's she got to be afraid of? >> well, what she has to be
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afraid of is people distorting words and the process of an investigation. there undoubtedly will be a criminal investigation. department of justice has said they're going to be going in. so everyone has to be careful about what they say publicly. >> why wouldn't she want to clear her reputation today? >> i'm certain she does. but today in the circus-like atmosphere of a congressional hearing is not the place you clear your name and not the place that you can take a position that could keep you in jail or keep you out of jail. >> what would make a person who's working hard for the government -- i respect federal employees. i remember an old guy saying people don't do their best work when they're being peed on. people that work ought to be treated well and get paid for it. especially for their competence. what would cause a member of the irs to say, you know what? i've got to figure out this big -- i've got thousands of applications for tax exempt status by these groups. a lot of them have political sounding names. why don't i go through the list
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that says tea party. that's a shorter way to do it. it's like profiling. why don't i look at the ones that say patriot. that's right wing by current nomenclature. i can shorten my time in getting the job done. is that what happened? as you understand it? >> not exactly. what happens is, there is a river of applications flowing into the cincinnati office. between 60,000 and 70,000 a year. the irs has about 150 to 200 employees there. and they have to categorize the work. the less complicated work goes to employees with less experience. the more complex stuff goes to employees with greater experience. and they have to categorize it. there's some 370 pages of irs a regulations that these people need to be familiar with. and so it really is a huge task to try and get -- >> explain -- cut to the chase here. why would they look for patriot or look for tar party in the
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names? that doesn't show misbehavior, does it? >> it doesn't show misbehavior. what it shows is a lack of appreciation, one, for the sensitiviies of it and for the task at hand. because the criteria for categoriing the cases should have been based on objective, nonpartisan facts that actually related -- >> how would you determine whether a group was breaking the law? for example, a group called the tea party nation. whatever they're called. how would you know they crossed the line from being a social welfare organization primarily concerned with values and national purpose to getting involved in campaigning? >> i do what the federal courts have done. i'd look at the people who run the organization. i'd look at how they spend their money. i'd look at whether their advertisements or media buys reference candidates in elections. i'd look at where they get their money from. >> so is this like -- i go to the airport and i'm running tsa. instead of deciding based upon people's movements around the world that might be suspicious, going to countries that cause us trouble, i just look for everybody that looks arab. i put them in one line. the american people would say
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that's outrageous. >> that's a problem. >> that's what this is like. >> well, in a sense. what the criteria should have been are things like whether the organization was formed within, say, a year of an election. these things spring up like mushrooms in anticipation of election. they should have picked factors like. >> i get you. it's like buying your airplane tickets with cash. things like that. >> exactly. >> you're a good guest. thank you very much for helping us. marcus owens who worked at the irs. "new york times" nicolas cafasori wrote the long article article we've been thinking about for days during the terrible tornado. we've wanted to get to you for so long. everybody is impressed by your work. you really got into the bowels of that place in cincinnati. doesn't get how something this screwed up could happen as mr. owens was talking about, where people flag organizations that have the name tea party. >> i'm going to say up front what i don't know and we all don't know. which manager and which
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specialist set into motion that search for tea party groups and why they did it. i think those are the key unanswered questions out of cincinnati. what we to know, this is a mixture of interviews and the report from the ig, this was a unit that had incredible turnover. they had more managers than, you know, spinal tap had drummers. they constantly had turnover of specialist. they were moving responsibility for these cases from one group to another. it is complicated stuff as marcus was saying. it's not really very easy to say with finality, this group is doing too much politics. and they have to consult with lawyers back in washington to get real close advice on the tax rules. it's not an easy process. they screwed it up. >> i hate to call it a hunt here, witch hunt. there aren't any such things as witches. mr. miller the acting director was asked who was in charge. instead of saying the way the chain of command works, this person's in charge. he wouldn't be saying they're the bad person. he'd say they had organizational
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responsibility. the fact that you a top reporter for the "new york times" doesn't know yet who's in charge, it does make people think, what kind of an operation is this where nobody knows what anybody is doing? >> it's very strange, if you were watching yesterday's testimony, at one point they said -- they said the current irs -- they said we think we know who the manager and the specialists were. then they come back a few minutes later and say, actually, we thought we knew who the person was and we asked them. and we were wrong. and i find it astonishing. you would think it would be evident in document traces, e-mail traces, who got this going. even the ig apparently couldn't figure that out, which speaks to a level of kind of ineptitude in that office to some extent. >> you know, i have to ask about lois lerner, the one who's on the skillet now for taking the fifth. she should get credit, i think. i'm not a lawyer in this case, but she should get credit for having blown the whistle on this a while back a couple years ago and told those people to stop using the shorthand in looking for tea party people.
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she found out later shed reverted back to that shorthand technology which has now been so discredited. she must have known who she talked to and told not to do this anymore. >> that's right. i mean, she had a briefing in 2011 where she was told about these criteria and said you can't do that. you have to change them back. we don't really know who was in that room. we don't even know if the room was in cincinnati or washington, frankly. she was the one when she heard about it, went and said, you can't do this. what's fascinating is someone below her it appears a couple of levels below her in the ranks turned that around. it may even have been the specialists themselves who decided on their own that those terms that she came up with were too generic and made it more specific, then. which is to say kind of dangerously specific. there is all this confusion about who these people were at the bottom level. we know some of their names in general from looking at the tax forms and the correspondence. but the actual people, who did what at which time is something
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even the ig hasn't told us yet. >> i make a political observation here. you know who wins with all this. everybody in the federal government is out to get them. they're all tainted to the left. all out there to screw them. the more it's impossible to get those headless nails out of there, the more the right wing loves it. they can run next year against them, 20 years, say that damn irs is still there. >> i think every american taxpayer deserves to understand what happened. i think whenever the coercive power of the government is at work there, everyone should know how this worked and who screwed up. >> good work. great reporting. it got to the facts. coming up, a regular texas two-step as rick perry and louie gohmert punch their tickets to the "hardball" side show. by the way, louie is a lifetime member. he's never getting out. this is "hardball," the place for politics.
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back to "hardball." now to the side show. first, remember this ad from rick perry's presidential campaign? >> i'm not ashamed to admit that i'm a christian. but you don't need to be in the pew every sunday to know there's something wrong in this country when gays with serve openly in the military, but our kids can't openly celebrate christmas or pray in school. >> the republican-led texas legislature stepped up months in advance to crack down on what some call the war on christmas. with what's been dubbed the merry christmas bill. it ensures that faculty and staff at public schools can, quote, offer traditional greetings around the holidays like merry christmas or happy hanukkah and not get into trouble for displaying decorations related to those holidays. here's the website set up by the bill's sponsors. evidently they're all about christmas. the bill heads to governor perry for his signature. i don't think supporters of the bill have anything to worry about on that front. finally, side show regular louie gohmert.
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one of the founding members of the birther crowd. he recently took criticism of the irs up a notch or two, you might say. here he is tying it all together with a nod, of course, to the boston tea party of old. >> you know, thank goodness that the irs was not around to help the founders when they founded the country, or otherwise they'd have probably shot the boston tea party participants. they would have killed off over half of the signers of the declaration of independence. >> and it's not just the irs. in the same speech gohmert expressed relief that the department of homeland security wasn't around at the time of the country's founding because of its sympathy for, as he put it, muslim extremists. that's the homeland security comment, loves muslim extremists. up next, devastation from monday's tornado is massive, of course. with president obama heading to oklahoma to see it firsthand,
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there's no space for politics here or anywhere. that's ahead. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics.
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welcome back to "hardball."
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we learned today president obama will visit the oklahoma city area on sunday to tour the devastation from monday's deadly tornado. and see firsthand the response effort under way. today we also learned that the cost of the tornado is being estimated at $2 billion. that's an early damage tally by the oklahoma insurance department. we also know that the medical examiner's office has identified positively 23 of the 24 people who died in the tornado. that's 24 deaths. ten of them children, including two infants. joining me now for more is msnbc's craig melvin. craig? >> reporter: hey there, chris matthews. some good news here. officials say at this point they do not expect that death toll to rise. at this point they're not actively looking for anyone in particular. i do want to show you behind me what started to happen here. this is happening all over moore, oklahoma, today. folks in this town literally picking up the pieces right now as you can see.
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this is that hospital that we've been looking at over the past 48 hours or so. workers have been there all day removing debris. at this point, no word on whether they are going to reopen that hospital, whether they're going to have to simply demolish it because the structural damage was that severe. you mentioned the $2 billion insurance estimate. that's an early estimate. at this point, officials aren't saying exactly how high that could rise. but we did learn a few hours ago that the state legislature here in oklahoma, government -- a rare example of government moving quickly here, the state legislature approved $45 billion -- $45 million in emergency aid relief. it's been approved by the state. they expect that's going to go to the governor and will happen. something else that's also started to happen, chris, we've started to get -- get pictures like this. this is something that we didn't really think about until it started to happen. when you've got a tornado like this one that decimated entire neighborhoods and schools, keepsakes, family heirlooms, pictures have been tossed about.
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in this parking lot, this is just a picture on the back it says, reading. it's from '66. that's something that struck us throughout the day. along with these stories of survival that we continue to hear. i spent some time this afternoon with a man that owns a day care center. and he talked about how his two teachers and 18 students had to huddle together in a bathroom and that bathroom was the only part of the structure left standing. all of them were okay. we've continued to hear stories like that throughout the day as well here in moore, chris. >> thank you so much, craig melvin down there in moore, oklahoma. on the president's visit to oklahoma sunday he'll once again remind us that in times of crisis, we all pull together, of course. it was that message of a united america, not one divided into red states and blue states that first electrified this country back in 2004 when obama gave that keynote at the democratic national convention. let's look at that reminder of times when we were much more ewe knighted. let's watch.
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>> there is not a black america and a white america and latino america and asian america, there's the united states of america. the pundits, the pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states, red states for republicans, blue states for democrats. but i've got news for them, too. we worship an awesome god in the blue states. and we don't like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the red states. >> wow. anyway, todd lam is oklahoma's lieutenant governor. governor, thank you for joining us. i think that's the spirit around my office. we're here to help and whatever we can do. this day is not a time for politics. give us a sense of the need, though. we want to know what you're going to be going to congress for. what do you need from fema? what do you need just to get
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through this? i can't believe it's just been 48 hours ago. i can't believe this time has been so packed with horror. >> it has been packed with horror. and as you just saw, it's been packed with recovery as well. the electrical poles are up. residents at 3:00 today, they were allowed back into their homes. i say allowed back into their homes, but some were kept out and brought in a bit at a time so they could get their property. but they're all back on property looking for their things that they cherish and try to dig things out of their rubble. chris, everything -- to answer your question, everything we've asked for from fema, the federal government we have received in oklahoma. i had an at length conversation with congressman tom cole this morning. here on site. he's going to remain on site for several days ahead. my staff will work with his. he's going to be the leader on capitol hill in both houses to make sure moore is taken care of and any federal relief that needs to come through will come through. you just heard what the oklahoma state senate did today. $45 million out of our rainy day fund to the office of emergency management. that will be passed by the state house of representatives
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tomorrow and on to the governor for her signature. so it'll be $45 million from the state of oklahoma to address some of these needs. >> you know, i'm still overwhelmed by the ability of the people in moore, oklahoma, and its surroundings to basically protect themselves. the horror of losing a couple of dozen people is real. there'll be funerals and the emotional loss within those families and the real personal loss is, of course, permanent. but the fact that all this proportionality amazes me. this much physical devastation could occur. what was the secret to getting so many people out of harm's way, governor? >> well, off to my left, on another camera, is one of our meteorologists. i just walked up to him before this interview, put my arms around him and i said, thank you. thank you for what you have done. our meteorologists in oklahoma are second to none. absolutely first rate. we were warned about the tornado on monday that wreaked this havoc behind me. we were warned about that tornado monday. on saturday and sunday for the
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potential of high tornadic activity on monday. the forecasting is is absolutely incredible. the automobile tornado sirens were, of course, working. 16 minutes' advance notice which doesn't sound like a lot of time before a tornado. that is a lot of time. and oklahoma's good. i say that someone unfortunately, we are good at responding to tragedies like this because we get a lot of practice as it. the oklahoma standard is just that. we respond. we help. oklahomans are doing that. of course, we have a lot of out of state help right now. people have driven up from texas. we've had people from arkansas. as a matter of fact, a retired police officer from the state of new york. i visited with him just yesterday. >> you're a great guest. you're a great man, i can tell. lieutenant governor todd lamb of the state of oklahoma. up next, look who's running for mayor of new york. get the kids inside. just kidding. former congressman anthony weiner is running. he's actually got a shot at winning this thing. this is "hardball," the place for politics.
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talking about sore losers, nearly 6 in 10 republicans say the 2012 election between president obama and mitt romney wasn't fair! that's according to a new poll from hammerlynn college. the poll also found more than 80% of republicans say voter fraud and intimidation, catch this, in big cities had at least some impact on the results of the election. big cities. president obama won re-election by a rather decisive four points, by the way. maybe the real reason people don't like to think it wasn't fair is because they didn't win. they didn't like the outcome. we'll be right back.
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we're back. big city mayors in this country aren't just the face of the city, they are the city. for better or worse they reflect the personality and character of a big city. think of rudy giuliani and mike bloomberg. they were new york when they were mayor. d.c.'s marion berry. my old city, frank rizzo. he was the city. in the race for the city's next mayor of new york, do new yorkers really want their hometown to be known as weiner city? former u.s. congressman anthony weiner is run ing. he resigned by the way in 2011, just two years ago, after accidentally he said sending out a lewd photo of himself. that's not the lewdest. of himself to his tens of thousands of twitter follower. after first claiming he'd been hacked, he later admitted he had
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add online relationships with several women had sent other photos of himself, as i said, which are far less decent than that one. now he's running for mayor begging the question is he in to win this thing or just to . cleanse himself through the operation. msnbc political analyst eugene robinson. you didn't win your prize writing about this stuff. a real democratic pollster and strategy who's really been in the trenches. let's look at the web ad of weiner's campaign and what he's running now. >> i made big mistakes and i know i let a lot of people down, but i've also learned tough lessons. i'm fighting for the middle class and i hope i get a second chance to work for you. new york city should be the middle class capital of the world, and i've got some ideas how to do it, 64 of them, right on my website, take a look, tell me what you think. >> we love this city, and no one will work harder to make it better than anthony. >> i will fight for you every single day. thank you for watching.
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>> my question is, should there be -- you're not going to tell me, you root for all democrats, right? >> there's a strong democratic field, and new york's going to have a democratic mayor. >> and? >> right now, a plurality are undecided. his wife, who is beloved, stands behind him. that's why she's -- part of the reason why she's in that video, parents are in there, shows his roots. >> by the way, we don't have anything to do with this thing, that's interesting. nothing to do, bill and hillary clinton. your thoughts, gene? i grew up in a big city, you identify with the mayor, that and the president are the most personal decisions. you like the guy, jersey, for example, rizzo in south philly, he was south philly, and certainly some of the better mayors like benigno, they love him.
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can you love a weiner? really, can you love him after this? >> when you put it that way -- >> he's not to fix the sewers, he's the symbol of the city. can you do that with a recent history, narcissism, whatever you call this situation. >> look, i would love to poll this race, right, the polling is going to be fascinating, who are the weiner supporters, who are the opponents, here we have a -- here we have a sex scandal where there was not actual sex. >> what was it? >> there was sexting, which is kind of a new age transportation. >> tens of thousands. >> and it will be fascinating to see how people react. >> see, the question is not orientation, not people having a sex drive, which god invented, none of us did, it's this weird desire to be known in this strange way by tens or thousands of people or strangers, and i don't see evidence that it's gone, except it's transforming under this desire to campaign
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for public office, which you got to wonder about, are they connected, these two pastimes? >> you can be an idiot on the internet and still be a good mayor. >> what do you mean by idiot? >> i think everyone can agree -- >> he wanted to do something else and did this by accident? >> no, the way he behaved with the pictures. >> mistakes were made? >> clearly, everyone agrees that was dumb, right? he said as much. >> dumb and mistakes. is this what you mean by this, you don't think it tells anything more than an unforced error in baseball, you think there wasn't something -- >> clearly. you're right, if he -- he talked about that in "the new york times" magazine piece about wanting this attention. if voters feel that's a driver than fighting for them. >> what do you think by fighting for them? >> he is a strong progressive voice, he's going to add sizzle to this race. >> would you want him traveling around the country saying this is the face of new york? >> sure, why not?
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>> that's the question. that's the question that's going to be fascinating to see as this race develops. i frankly don't think he will win. i think quinn will probably win the mayor's office. but, you know, her lead isn't that big at this point. >> plurality undecided. >> given her status as the front-runner, 25% doesn't make you that much of a front-runner. anything can happen. i think we'll learn something about how people think about this particular -- >> you know what i think, i think people want to show shame in public life, when they do something really wrong like this, humiliating not just them, but the country who paid attention to them, go away, garden somewhere, spend some time. we, obviously, don't agree on this. i read a piece, what you ought to do is go away for awhile and do some job that's not high profile and do something for the people for once and maybe you can work this way back, but the shameless coming right back to the public is not about forgiving, it's about putting him up on the pedestal of the mayor of new york.
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that's not the same of forgiving. you can forgive a lot. you are the person to welcome everybody to america, you're the face of new york city. i would find it incredible. >> sees the internet as a private space, the own zone of privacy we don't yet understand where the boundaries are, but do people see dumb stupid, not dumb and stupid, but offensive, frankly, he was sending pictures of his crotch to random women. >> by the tens of thousand. >> do people see that as different from being, say, an exhibitionist in the flesh? >> or do they see it as having nothing to do with making sure the trains are running on time -- >> really good advocate. maybe he'll hire you to do this. fair enough. i agree with you, he's in the game. that says a lot about us. anyway, gene robinson, thanks for coming on. fairness of the right wing's reaction to benghazi, it is really unfair. you're watching "hardball," place for politics.
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let me finish tonight with this. i was thinking the other day about the consummate unfairness of the so-called benghazi issue. when our country was hit in 2001 with those planes flying into the world trade center up in new york and the pentagon down here in washington, the country accepted the horror, sure, there was some finger pointing about the warning the cia had given the president about the al qaeda attacking in the united states, but nobody serious was saying george w. bush was behind 9/11, nobody calling him a bad guy over it and nobody serious talking about impeachment. then i read the other day about some republican impeaching the president about the attack on a cia facility in benghazi out in the revolutionary of libya. think about how disproportionate this is, in one case the greatest city, its capital, causalities in the thousands, another out there in a location even under quiet circumstances was risky. in the case of 9/11, the
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political critics put politics aside. in the case of that outpost in libya, they make it grounds for the biggest scandal in god's creation, all-out political warfare. who is being reasonable here, who is being fair? that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us, "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes, and thank you for joining us tonight. an amazing strange, weird, fascinating news day, including a stunning development involving one of the boston bombing suspects and his alleged role in a grizzly triple homicide that featured marijuana sprinkled all over the victims' bodies. that's true. also we'll take you to florida where an 18-year-old high school student faces felony charges for having a relationship with another female student. plus, a truly remarkable thing happened in washington, it


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